Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease sickens park visitors

Disneyland shuts down 2 cooling towers after Legionnaires' disease sickens park visitors

Disneyland has shut down two cooling towers after people who visited the Anaheim theme park came down with Legionnaires' disease.

Two are Anaheim residents, five were visitors who stayed in Anaheim between 9/12 and 9/27, and one works in Anaheim but lives in another county. There is one casualty reported in those twelve cases.

According to the Orange County health agency Legionella is becoming more common in the United States and in Orange County, where 55 cases have been reported through October 2017, compared with 53 for all of 2016 and 33 in 2015.

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The chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Pamela Hymel, said in a written statement that after learning of the Legionnaires cases, park officials ordered the cooling towers treated with chemicals to destroy the bacteria and shut them down.

About three weeks ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified county authorities of several cases of the disease among people who had traveled to Orange County in September. "We conducted a review and learned that two cooling towers had elevated levels of Legionella bacteria", the statement said. Disney took the towers out of service on November 1, performed more testing and disinfection, and brought them back into service on November 5. "These towers were treated with chemicals that destroy the bacteria and are now shut down".

Disneyland says they have shared this information with OCHCA. Test results will not be known for approximately 10-14 days.

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The age range of those that contracted the disease during this concentrated period goes from 52 to 94.

The bacteria commonly is found in water systems and poses no threat to humans at low levels. Also among the sickened is one Disneyland employee, according to the Los Angeles Times. Legionnaires' can cause severe pneumonia and is spread by mist from contaminated water. But in large concentrations, often due to stagnant or improperly sanitized water systems, the bacteria can be transmitted through inhaling contaminated water vapor.

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